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Why Do Cats Cover Their Face When They Sleep? 8 Likely Reasons

Cats are adorable when they sleep, which is a good thing because they spend so much time snoozing throughout the day and night. No doubt that you have noticed quirky behaviors in your cat while they sleep, such as covering their face with their paws. You might wonder if this is normal behavior or if it means something is wrong. Whether you are dealing with a kitten, an adult, or a senior, there are a few different reasons that your cat might cover their face with their paws when they settle down for a nice cozy nap, such as to be comfortable and to keep warm. Let’s go over a few other reasons.

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The 8 Likely Reasons Why Cats Cover Their Faces When They Sleep

1. They’re Blocking Out the Light

Sometimes, it is just too bright for a cat to get a good nap in. Therefore, they will make things cozier by covering their eyes with their paws to try to block the light. This is typical behavior for cats that want to sunbathe in a window while they snooze. If they are not using their paws to block the light, they might use their tail.

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2. They Are Creating a Sense of Security

Cats don’t like to leave themselves exposed while they sleep, as in nature, it could result in an assault by a predator. Even when sleeping in the comfort of their own home, they may feel the need to create extra security while they snooze, if for nothing more than to increase peace of mind. Covering their face with their paws can give them an extra sense of security because it makes them feel as though they are hidden away and cannot be seen as easily.

the cat sleeps face down
Image Credit: Dolgikh Dmitry, Shutterstock
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3. They Are Trying to Warm Themselves Up

If it’s chilly while your cat is napping, they might use their paws to cover their face in an effort to warm up. Covering their face can help keep their nose warm, which in turn, helps them retain their body heat. A cat that is trying to keep themselves warm may also curl their bodies tightly around their head and paws.

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4. They Don’t Want to Get Distracted

When a cat is extra tired, they will do what they can to remove any distractions that would keep them from restful sleep. One way for them to do this is to cover their face with their paws. By doing so, they can block out stimulation that might keep them awake under normal circumstances. A blocked face helps minimize the risk of getting startled and increases the chance of maintaining optimal comfort during a nap.

Sleeping cat with paw on face
Image Credit: Elias Jara, Pexels
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5. They Simply Find It Comfortable

Some cats cover their faces when they sleep just for the comfort of it. It’s like when we humans wrap our arms around a throw pillow or tuck blankets between our legs for extra comfort during a nap. Not all cats find covering their faces to be a comfortable sleeping position, but those that do are likely to cover their faces often.

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6. They Are Making It Clear That They Don’t Want to Be Disturbed

Sometimes, a cat might cover their face while they sleep as a sign that they do not want human or other animal companions living in the home to disturb them. They just want peace, and they feel that if they block everyone out with their paws, their message will be read loud and clear. You will know that this is the reason for your cat’s covered face if they react negatively when you try to pet, pick up, or talk to them while they are sleeping.

Sleeping cat covering her eyes with the paw
Image Credit: Anatoliy Tishin, Shutterstock
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7. They Are Exhausted and Can’t Stay Awake Any Longer

Cats like to groom themselves almost as much as they enjoy exploring and sleeping. If they happen to be cleaning their paws or face when they’re extra tired, though, they might fall asleep in the middle of the process and end up covering their face with their paws. It’s simply the position that they are in when they doze off, so they stay that way out of convenience.

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8. They May Be Marking Their Territory

While this is not a common reason for a cat to cover their face while they sleep, it is still possible. Cats love to mark their territory and do so by spraying the spaces and things that they want to “own” and by rubbing their bodies on these things. The odor from their body gets onto the objects and spaces where other cats can smell it and understand that ownership has been established. Your kitty might be rubbing their head on a pillow, blanket, or area rug to mark territory and then fall asleep in the process, making it look like they’re covering their face while they snooze.

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In Conclusion

No matter the reason that your cat covers their face while they sleep, there is no reason to worry about their health or behavior. Covering their face while they sleep is normal behavior for most felines, even if they only do it occasionally. That said, understanding why your cat might engage in this behavior can provide you with peace of mind and interesting insight.

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Featured Image Credit: Ivan Olianto, Shutterstock